When I used to work for Lulu, one of the most frequent things I encountered was people who were desperate to publish their book or software or music before they died. There was this insane urgency, this desperation to get the book out there because they were racing against the clock. In some cases this was all in their heads but many times it was very literal. I spoke to so many children who were going through the publishing process for an aging parent, would be authors who were ill and very literally didn’t have much time left.
I don’t have to tell you how depressing this is. Because as I watched these people racing, fighting for every second, screaming because that month long delay was something they literally couldn’t spare, I couldn’t help but feel like… why didn’t you do this earlier? Especially for the older customers… you had your entire life! Why are you doing this to yourself, this cram and rush and stress when you could have taken your time and done this right years ago? Why did you leave yourself so little time to do what you wanted to do?
Us sellers see this with customers, the irrational rush and desperation, especially around the holidays. But beyond the usual customer insanity, there is something else behind this. At some point in our lives, we will realize that we are almost out of time to do all those things we wanted to do and we freak out. We see the end and are terrified by the idea that we never got to do those things we’ve wanted to do but kept having to put off.
I am very grateful for that job at Lulu for it opening my eyes to this. Because every time I spoke to someone in this situation I promised myself that it would never, ever be me. It was a wake-up call.
People always ask me how I stay motivated, how I make myself work as hard as I do, how I do things like run a company all day and still force myself to work on my creative pursuits like fiction at night. How I keep adding things to my business, expanding, even when what I have is working just fine. Why I do things like write a novel in a month and run a random fan site for a voice over actor no one’s heard of when, lord knows, I have plenty already on my plate.
It’s simple. I’m not going to wait until I’m on my deathbed to do those things I want to do. I’m not going to wait until my retirement to start enjoying myself and indulge in my passions. I’m going to wait until it’s too late and look back with regret… I’m going to do as much as I possibly can now.
So, from me to you, maybe this can be your wake up call. It’s a new year. A brand new clean slate. You know that stuff you want to do before you die? Start working towards that now, while you still have plenty of time.